Searching Beyond the Paid

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Yahoo Search Marketing Bulk Uploads In 10 Easy Steps

Managing a large PPC account can be, and often is, a full-time job. With thousands of ads, keywords, and creatives, simply updating product offerings can take hours each week. Add to that the constantly changing landscape of PPC and you're looking at real headache potential.

Luckily, all the major engines have tools to help ease the pain. One such tool is the bulk upload spreadsheet, which is the fastest way to make mass changes to a PPC account. Instead of having to navigate the user interface on the Web, you can create and edit ad groups in Excel, using all its function tools, and then just upload the finished product to the engine.

Bulk upload spreadsheets have been around since Yahoo Search Marketing was still Overture. In fact, Overture had a bulk upload feature before Google did, and it was a great tool. I used it regularly to add and change PPC listings.

Then, along came Yahoo's Panama, with a new interface and a new spreadsheet. Yahoo conducted several webinars about Panama, including one on the bulk upload sheet (on this page, titled "Importing Campaigns Overview.").

Great idea, right? I thought so, and I was eager to see the new tool in action. Well..... I consider myself a power Excel user - I use Excel more than any other Microsoft Office program, and I'm pretty good at it. Yet, I was lost about 5 minutes into the bulk upload webinar. It was so frustrating, I just gave up and started making changes manually - a very time-consuming process. Others agreed that the bulk upload tool was just too hard to figure out.

Well, I finally got tired of all the typing, and decided to buckle down and learn how to use the bulk upload. I'm glad I did, especially in view of the fact that Yahoo now requires short descriptions on all their ads.

I started with Yahoo's instructions for importing campaigns, but they're somewhat daunting. Here are 10 easy steps to a successful Yahoo bulk upload:

1. If possible, edit only one campaign at a time. Don't download your entire account - you'll have to do a lot of filtering in Excel, and that means lots of error potential.
2. To download a campaign, from within the campaign you want to edit, just click the link that says "download campaign."
3. Open the file and save it to your hard drive as an Excel (xls) file. You'll need to change this format later, but you'll want full use of all of Excel's features while editing.
4. Make your changes - adding short descriptions, turning Content on or off, editing copy, etc. One of the best uses of the bulk upload sheet is for adding keyword-level URLs. This is painful in the interface, but simple via bulk upload using the Copy and Concatenate functions.
5. To delete a keyword or ad group, just delete those rows from the spreadsheet.
6. To add keywords or ad groups, add them to the spreadsheet. You'll need to be careful and follow the Ad GroupAdKeyword convention, though - use an existing ad group as a template. Just make sure to leave the Ad ID, Keyword ID, Checksum, and Error Message columns blank!
7. Once you've made all your changes, you'll need to save the file as Unicode Text. But, make sure to give it a .csv extension! Excel wants to save Unicode Text files as .txt, but that'll cause errors when you try to upload the file.
8. Go back into the YSM interface, to the Campaigns tab, and click Import. Then just follow the instructions from there to upload your file.
9. It only takes a few seconds to upload, and the interface will tell you if there are errors. If you got errors, go back to the Help section and see if you can figure them out!
10. Don't forget to check the Editorial Status section to see if any of your changes are waiting there. Usually they'll go through in a day or so, but it's good to know what's pending there, just in case.

That's it! It's really not that hard once you do it a few times. I've started using this function for almost all my ad edits lately.

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  • There certainly is a learning curve but once you're past the hump, Yahoo's import tool is powerful.

    See comment #2 here on uploading campaigns from scratch:

    By Blogger Internet Strategy Blog, at 3:39 PM EDT  

  • Thansk, isgblog - very helpful!

    By Blogger Melissa, at 3:46 PM EDT  

  • This article is great! I'm about to do mass edits to a large Yahoo PPC account for the first time, so it's a great help to find this information. I'm wondering, since this article was written ten months ago, has anything changed? Anything new I want to know about mass edits of a Yahoo PPC account? Thanks very much.

    By Blogger Greg, at 2:33 AM EDT  

  • Hi Gregory, glad you liked the article! The process for uploading is still the same. Just make sure you download the most recent template from the YSM interface, since some of the fields have changed in the last couple weeks. Other than that, follow the directions here and you're good to go. Good luck!


    By Blogger Melissa, at 12:06 PM EDT  

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